In Pursuit of the Romantic Past

Silent Surrender

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My husband and I are both devotees of Hollywood’s most magnificent era, the 1920s. Like many writers, we’ve also felt the romantic lure of Tahiti. On one of our two journeys to French Polynesia, we were fortunate enough to spend a day with the daughter and grandson of the author James Norman Hall, who had moved to Tahiti in the ‘30s and wrote such classics as MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY. During our visit with the Halls, they told us about some of the glamorous filmmaking expeditions that had come to Tahiti in the silent era, such as MGM’s WHITE SHADOWS IN THE SOUTH SEAS and Paramount’s TABU. We were so intrigued with the subject that we found a way to spend two glorious days all alone on Motu Tapu, an uninhabited island off Bora Bora where TABU had been filmed.
In the midst of this adventure in paradise, it occurred to me that one of those silent filmmaking expeditions might be a wonderful setting for a romance. It also struck me that this story could be a sequel to my first novel, THE LAST HIGHWAYMAN. That book’s heroine, Christina, had been the child of two consummate actors of the London stage. With this gift in her genes, why couldn’t Christina’s daughter, Liana, be an actress as well, trying to make a career for herself in the new medium of silent films?
I needed a hero. The obvious choice would be the director of my fictional filmmaking expedition. But there had to be conflict. So I made him a WWI ace pilot who had broken Liana’s heart in Paris during the war. Four years later, she’s the only actress he will agree to cast for his Tahiti movie, Hollywood’s first million dollar production. He’s the last man she ever wants to see again. Will she hold a grudge? Or will she surrender to his passionate persuasion? And so the stage is set.

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“O’Neal crafts a fascinating spin-off from her first novel, The Last Highwayman, featuring a heroine who personifies the newly liberated 1920s woman. Spencer is typical of men of the era who had difficulty accepting this new feminism. Combining the grand sweep of James Michener’s Hawaii with details about the early days of filmmaking, SILENT SURRENDER has the epic draw of a mainstream saga and the heated, grand passion of the finest romances.”
–Kathe Robin, Romantic Times

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“This is a powerful story of love and deception. I could not predict what would happen in the next chapter. Wonderfully done! I applaud Ms. O’Neal.”
–Old Book Barn Gazette

 

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